I was up early. I wanted to read and meditate before things got hectic. The house was quiet-and the heat had just been turned up a few notches. As I was reading, I noticed a weird whirring sound. It was the sound of something working very hard and not properly. I continued to read, but figuring out the source of this new sound continued to distract me. My prayers went something like this: “Dear God, please help me remember to take you with me wherever I go today…(what the heck is that noise?)…I want to be used by you in whatever way you need me…(Oh. My. Goodness. I think that’s the furnace!) Please watch over my kids…(It must be dying. That’s just GREAT!) and my husband…(maybe it just needs a new filter…do they even have filters?) and help me to (why can’t we ever get ahead, Lord? It’s always something breaking down) um, what was I saying, God? Oh ya, and give me peace about this furnace thing (it sounds terrible…I am sure it will need to be replaced…Perfect…) and, well, anyway…Amen.” I battled these thoughts as I tried to finish up my reading, mentally distracted by this furnace travesty. I spent about 45 minutes trying to read and pray while managing my fears about the furnace, making plans to get it looked at and calculating the cost of it all. When I could stand it no longer, I put my books away, determined to get to the bottom of this problem. As I got up , I noticed that the green light on the DVD player was on (those blasted kids!). I walked over and turned it off and a funny thing happened (“funny” as in “sort of embarrassing”); the noise stopped. Yep. Furnace problem solved.
What a great image of how I often walk through my day and sometimes how I “sleep” at night. I have specific tasks to do that can only be done in the present, yet even though my body is present and accounted for, my mind is wandering far far away. It’s trying to solve problems I cannot fix or change people or things I cannot change. Sometimes those thoughts are somewhat legitimate, but more often than not, they are not even based in reality. Like the noise from the DVD player. I had convinced myself that it was the furnace and spent my energy trying to solve a problem that wasn’t even REAL. That’s the scariest part of living in F.E.A.R. This is a well-know acronym for “FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL”. I had all kinds of evidence, created in my brilliant, all-knowing brain, that told me my furnace was close to death. I spent 45 minutes trying to solve this made-up problem and worrying over what it would cost me. My head was definitely NOT with my hands. I missed what God might have been trying to tell me and I stuttered and stammered my way through prayers that leaned heavily toward not trusting God at all.
I read something this morning in a Recovery book that helped me put this entire blog into about 3 sentences: “I suspect that if I reclaimed all the minutes, hours, and days I’ve sacrifice to worry and fear, I’d add years to my life. When I succumb to worry, I open Pandora’s box of terrifying pictures, paranoid voices, and relentless self-criticism. The more attention I pay to this mental static, the more I lose my foothold in reality. Then nothing useful can be accomplished. To break the cycle of worry and fear, I’m learning to focus all my attention on this very moment….worry and fear can alter our perception until we lose all sense of reality, twisting neutral situations into nightmares.” I had created a nightmare (a false nightmare…) in my head AND managed to shut myself off from the only REAL Source of help and peace of mind. I can only live in serenity if I keep myself rooted in the reality of the present and invite God in to do the fixin’. (Ok-so that was more like 5 sentences…😉).